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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-03-03

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

SECRETARY-GENERAL INVITES PRESIDENT CLINTON TO JOIN HIM ON HAITI VISIT

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently

invited President Clinton to participate in a visit to Haiti. This decision is based on the attention devoted by President Clinton to Haiti while in the White House, his service as the United Nations Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, and most recently on his Call to Action on Haiti at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in September 2008.

The visit builds on Secretary-General Bans continuing work with President René Préval to identify an action plan to achieve economic security for the people of Haiti. The plan focuses on the generation of employment opportunities, food security, reforestation and the provision of basic services, including health care.

The presence of the Secretary-General and President Clinton will bring a strong message of hope that Haiti is still winnable. The trip will help to focus attention on the importance for new partnerships and new efforts to assist the people and government of Haiti as they continue to build back better from recent storm damage and create a more stable and prosperous future for the children of Haiti, according to a statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General.

Meanwhile, President Clinton said: The losses have been so great in Haiti, but the commitment of the people of Haiti to a better future is even greater, and we have a unique moment to assist them as they rebuild their country. I believe Haiti is poised to make more progress in less time than it has in the more than two decades that I have been working on these issues.

SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS KILLINGS OF PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF OF GUINEA-BISSAU

The

Security Council met this morning to adopt its programme of work for the month of March.

Under other matters, Council members heard a briefing on the killings of the President and Chief of General Staff in Guinea-Bissau by Sam Ibok, Deputy Director of the Africa II division of the Department for Political Affairs.

The Council, in a formal meeting, condemned the two assassinations in the strongest terms, and called for restraint, the maintenance of stability and the constitutional order and respect for the rule of law and the democratic process.

The Council President is also expected to issue a press statement today welcoming the commencement of the functioning of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

U.N. CONDEMNS ATTACK ON SRI LANKAS CRICKET TEAM IN PAKISTAN

Asked about the UN reaction to the attack in Pakistan on Sri Lankas cricket team, the Spokeswoman said, We strongly condemn this attack and offer our sympathies to the victims and their families.

She said that any attack targeting civilians -- in this case, athletes -- is inhumane and unjustifiable, and she urged the authorities in Pakistan to do all in their power to find the culprits and bring them to justice.

GAZA: AID AGENCIES STILL FACE RESTRICTIONS AND DELAYS IN DELIVERY

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

reports that, while international donors gathered yesterday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to raise funds for the reconstruction of Gaza, aid agencies continued to experience restrictions and delays in delivering aid supplies to the Strip.

OCHA notes that more than 80 percent of all goods currently allowed into Gaza by Israel are basic foods. But other essential goods, including supplies and equipment needed for rebuilding, and even early childhood development kits and toys from UNICEF, are being kept out.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is working with the Palestinian Authority on a project aimed at compensating farmers in Gaza for their losses during the recent military operations.

UNICEF remains concerned that the nutritional status and general health of children in Gaza is likely to deteriorate given the dependency of Gazan families on food aid and cash assistance, as well as their lack of access to clean tap water.

UN PEACEKEEPING MISSION REPORTS SHOTS FIRED FROM ISRAEL INTO LEBANON

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was informed this morning that 15 hours rifle shots were fired from the Israeli side of the Line Withdrawal in the area of El Adeisse.

A UNIFIL investigation team visited the location to ascertain the circumstances of the incident and investigations are still ongoing.

Preliminary findings on the ground show that at least two shots impacted on a wall approximately 50 meters from the Line of Withdrawal into Lebanese territory. There were no reported injuries.

This is a serious incident and a violation of Security Council resolution

1701. UNIFIL has protested to the Israel Defense Force.

The UNIFIL Force Commander, Major General Claudio Graziano, has been in contact with the Senior Commanders of the Lebanese Armed Forces and the IDF in this regard, and UNIFIL patrols are on the location.

SECURITY SITUATION IN DARFUR IS REPORTED TO BE RELATIVELY CALM

The security situation in Darfur has been reported to be relatively calm. The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) forces are conducting their normal activities, including robust patrolling, and they are closely monitoring the situation throughout the region.

Ninety three members of the Egyptian infantry battalion arrived in El Fasher today, as was planned and reported yesterday.

Further to yesterdays report about a shooting incident at the Manawashi Market in El Fasher, North Darfur, UNAMID was advised that a group of militiamen were firing in the market and had attempted to loot shops, allegedly due to their discontent with not having received salaries. One person was killed and six wounded in the incident.

Upon his return from Khartoum to El Fasher later in the day, the Wali of North Darfur visited the wounded in the local hospital. An outraged crowd demonstrating against the looting reportedly began throwing stones at his vehicle, prompting the Walis close protection team to begin shooting in the air. No injuries were reported.

ACHIM STEINER IS APPOINTED HEAD OF U.N. OFFICE IN NAIROBI

The Secretary-General has appointed Achim Steiner as Director General of the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), effective 1 March. Steiner has been the Executive Director of the Nairobi-based United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) since June 2006 - a position he will continue to retain.

Steiner is succeeding Anna Tibaijuka as Director-General of the Nairobi office. The Secretary-General made this decision in view of his policy of rotation among his senior managers. Tibaijuka will continue to serve as the Executive Director of the Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), a position she has held since 2002.

The Secretary-General is grateful to Mrs. Tibaijuka for the valuable support and direction that she has provided UNON during her tenure as Director General since 2006. He is counting on her continued leadership as Executive Director of UN-Habitat.

Asked about protests by some staff in Nairobi about the change in the leadership of that office, the Spokeswoman emphasized that the Secretary-General has valued rotation and mobility highly and has pushed for it throughout the UN system. At the same time, she underscored his continuing respect for Anna Tibaijukas work.

HIV INFECTIONS IN OLDER GENERATIONS COULD BE INCREASING WORLDWIDE

The number of people who are above the age of fifty and have HIV may be increasing worldwide. But doctors seldom consider screening them for HIV, thus delaying diagnosis, according to an

article published today in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The article adds that older individuals are less likely to practice safe sex. And they experience faster progression rates from HIV infection to AIDS.

IMO AND UNDP LAUNCH AN ALLIANCE TO COMBAT THE ENVIRONMENTAL THREAT OF BIO-INVASIONS

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have

launched a new alliance with the Global Environment Facility and four major private shipping corporations. The goal is to tackle the devastating environmental threat of so-called bio-invasions.

The UNDP and the IMO note that when ships discharge water into the sea, potentially harmful species of plants and animals from one geographical area are released into a new one. Once these species are established, they are extremely difficult to eradicate.

The alliance will help to develop cost effective water treatment technologies and new ship design options.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

REQUEST FOR INVESTIGATION IN BANGLADESH MUTINY BEING STUDIED: Asked about the recent mutiny in Bangladesh, the Spokeswoman later confirmed that the United Nations has received a request, conveyed to the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, for assistance regarding investigations into the mutiny. That request is being studied.

UNICEF CHIEF VISITS MIDDLE EAST: UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman

concluded a two-day visit to Jordan which focused on the countrys innovative approaches to child protection and education. The visit to Jordan comes as the first stop of a mission which will also take her to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Gaza, to take stock of the situation of children in the region.

UNDP ADMINISTRATOR SHORTLIST WILL NOT BE MADE PUBLIC: Asked about the selection of a new UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General was striving for maximum transparency in that process. To that end, he had consulted widely with Member States and placed an advertisement for the post in The Economist. However, it was decided to respect the privacy of candidates by not making any shortlist public.

INTERNAL AUDIT REPORT ON ART HAS BEEN MADE AVAILABLE: Asked about a report that gifts of art made to the United Nations may have gone missing, the Spokeswoman reiterated that the accuracy of that news article is being checked. Okabe added that the article concerned an internal report by the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), which has been made available to the public by a Member State. She also asid that the recommendations made by OIOS in the report were being followed up by the appropriate departments.

UNITED NATIONS AND CAMBODIA CONTINUE TALKS ON ECCC: Asked about allegations on corruptions in Cambodia, the Spokeswoman later said that the United Nations continued high-level discussions with the Cambodian Government on 23 February on all issues related to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC); Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Peter Taksoe-Jensen represented the United Nations. The discussions also focused on the work of the Joint Sessions, which are working to establish a mechanism to address the allegations of corruption.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO BRIEF PRESS SHORTLY AFTER HIS RETURN: In response to questions, the Spokeswoman recalled that the Secretary-General was expected to hold his monthly press conference shortly after returning to New York, although she noted that was not going to take place tomorrow.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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